Publishing house RIMIS, 2007.
Isaac Newton, a great English scientist of the XVIII century, many years of his life devoted to study of historical chronology. During long and detailed study he understood a deep falseness of the common chronological version of Scaliger-Petavius. Newton systematized it, gave its brief and clear summary (relatively to the ancient history) and based on the natural science ideas he subjected the Scaligerian version to significant modification directed at its SHORTENING and bringing closer to our time. The book of Newton first evoked a stormy discussion in press, but then was hidden and, actually, excluded out of scientific circulation.
The interest to chronological works of Newton renewed only in the last years on the wave of studies on New chronology of Fomenko-Nosovskiy.
The book contains a foreword of G.V.Nosovskiy. Under his supervision the translation was done. The Russian translation is accompanied with the initial English text. The book is in store for everyone, who is interested into historical chronology and natural-scientific methods of its study.
Foreword to Russian edition of the book of Isaac Newton «IMPROVED CHRONOLOGY OF THE ANCIENT KINGDOMS»
The author of the book, placed before the reader, is so famous, that he doesn't need presentation. But, probably, hardly everyone knows, that Isaac Newton, a great English scientist of the XVIII century, mathematician, mechanic, astronomer and physician, a creator of classical mechanics, basis of differential and integral calculus, a person, who created the law of gravitation and built a theory of movement of celestial bodies, many years of his life devoted to study of historical chronology and attempts to improve it. A falseness of the common chronological version of Scaliger-Petavius became clear to Newton only after a long detailed study. Having understood, what the matter is, he made an attempt to systemize a wrong version of Scaliger, to give its brief and clear summary (relatively to the ancient history) and to improve its mistakes. The first two tasks were brilliantly done by Newton, as a reader will make sure while reading this book. As for improvement of the chronology of Scaliger-Petavius, here the great Englishman didn't reach success, although he stated a number of extremely valuable ideas and notes.
In the 80th years of the XX century A.T.Fomenko for the first time after a long oblivion found and turned into a scientific use the fact, that Newton studied chronology and wrote a huge work on this subject. An analysis of the book of Newton and the history of its publications, provided below, is mainly based on the corresponding section of the book of A.T.Fomenko «Foundations of the history».
In our time the studies of Newton on chronology are in every way concealed. But there was time, when they were loudly discussed. Today with the development of the New Chronology it becomes clear, how grand was the task, which Newton set to himself. A genius scientist chose an absolutely true direction of scientific search. Based on natural-scientific ideas Newton subjected the Scaligerian version of the ancient chronology to significant modification directed at its SHORTENING. Most vents, dated by historians earlier than the epoch of Alexander the Great, Newton re-dated with a shift to the side of our time. But proposed by him changes in chronology were not so radical, as in the latest works of Nikolay Alexandrovich Morozov, who independently from Newton showed, that the Scaligerian version of the ancient chronology is not correct up to the IV century A.D. Newton in his attempts to improve the chronology didn't move higher than the level of the beginning of the Common Era. He subjected to revision only the dates approximately earlier 200 B. C. Upon that he couldn't find any system in the appearing re-datings.
Comparing the conclusions of Newton and accepted today Scaligerian version of chronology, modern commentators come to the idea that the great scientist was «mistaken», and historians «are of course right». So, for example, one of the biographers of Isaac Newton, M. I. Orlenko wrote: «Of course without transcript of cuneiform writing and hieroglyphs, without data from archeology, WHICH DIDN'T EXIST THAT TIME YET, constrained with the presumption of fairness of the Biblical chronology and belief in reality of what was told in the myths, Newton was mistaken not on the tens and not even hundreds, but on thousands of years, and his chronology is far from the truth even relatively to the reality of some events themselves. V. Winston wrote in his memories: «Sir Isaac in the field of mathematics often saw the truth just through his intuition, even without any evidence... But the same sir Isaac Newton composed the chronology... But this chronology convinces not more, than a witty historical novel, as I finally proved in my contradiction of this chronology. How extremely silly can be the greatest of people in some fields»».
So, what Isaac Newton proposed? The main attention he devoted to the chronology of Ancient Egypt and Greece before the beginning of the Common Era. For example, a common version of the chronology dates the beginning of the governance of the first Egyptian Pharaoh Menes around 3000 years B.C. Newton insisted, that this event was dated 946 B.C. A chronological shift here is as much as two thousand years.
A myth about Theseus is dated by historians back to the XV century B.C. Newton proved, that the corresponding events took place around 936 year B.C. That is around 700 years later.
A famous Trojan war is dated by historians around 1225 year B.C. Newton insisted, that it took place much later – in 904 year B.C. A chronological shift in this case is around 330 years. Etc.
Briefly the main conclusions of Newton in the field of Scaligerian chronology could be stated as follows. A part of the history of the Ancient Greece is replaced by him at the average on 300 years and moved closer to us. The history of the Ancient Egypt, covering, according to the Scaligerian version, several thousand years and starting allegedly 3-4 thousand years B.C., is moved by Newton into a short period of 330 years from 946 B.C. until 617 B.C.
Very interesting and educative is the history of publications of the works of Isaac Newton on chronology. Seems that Newton was afraid, that publication of his works on chronology will bring him a lot of troubles and was not in hurry about publication. Newton continued chronological studies during many years up to his death in 1727. In course of time gossip about chronological studies of Newton started to spread in the society and princess of Wales expressed a wish to get acquainted with his work. Newton gave her a manuscript under the condition that it will not go to third parties' hands.
In some time the manuscript was given on the same terms to Abbe' Conti, who came to London from France. But after returning to Paris Abbe' Conti started to give it to read to the interested persons. The case finished with translation of the manuscript into French by M. Freret, with addition of his own historical review. This translation soon reached a French book seller G. Gavelier, who dreaming about publishing a new book of Newton, wrote him a letter in May of 1724. But he didn't receive response from Newton, after what in March of 1725 he wrote a new letter, informing by the way, that he will consider silence of the author as his consent for publication of the book with notes of Freret. There was no answer again. Then Gavelier asked his London friend to get response from Newton personally. A meeting took place on May 27, 1725 and Newton gave negative response. But it was too late. The book was issued in French under the following name:
Abrege de Chronologie de M.Le Chevalier Newton, fait par lui-meme, et traduit sur le manuscript Angelois. (With observation by M. Freret). Edited by the Abbe Conti, 1725.
Newton received this French edition on November 11, 1725. He published a letter in Philosophical Works of the Royal Society (Transactions of the Royal Society, v. 33, 1725, p. 315), where he accused Abbe' Conti in break of his promise and in publication of the book against the will of the author. In 1726, after the appearance of accusations from Father Souciet, Newton announced, that he was preparing for print a new, more informative book on the ancient chronology.
All these events took place not long ago before the death of Newton. He died in 1727, not having finished his studies on the ancient history. In 1728 an English posthumous edition of his chronological works was published.
Soon after the appearance of the above mentioned editions (French and English) a lot of responses appeared in press. Mainly they were written by historians and philologists and were extremely negative. Historians of the Scaligerian school were very dissatisfied with the book of Newton, but they couldn't bring any essential objections. As usually in such cases they used the words like «illusions of the honorable layman» etc. Further Cesare Lombroso actually joined this chorus of offences. In his famous book «Genius and insanity» he wrote: «Newton, who conquered all the mankind with his intelligence, as coevals fairly wrote about him, in his anility also suffered from real mental disorder (!? — Aut.), although not so serious, as previous genius people. Looks like exactly in this period he wrote «Chronology», «Apocalypses» and «Letter to Bentail», misty and confused works, and absolutely different from things he wrote in young age». No comments.
There were separate votes, supporting Newton. But through time a wave of comments declined, and the works of Newton on chronology were actually hidden and withdrawn from scientific circulation. Newton was ahead of his time. An interest to his chronological research renewed only in the last time, on the wave of our studies on New Chronology. Suddenly it was found, that some separate ideas of the New Chronology were expressed by Newton at the beginning of the XVIII century. And in 278 years after the issue of the first English edition, a book of the great scientist, a result of his forty years work thanks to the efforts of publishing house «RIMIS», finally was translated into Russian and is placed before the reader.
Translation of the works of Isaac Newton on chronology into Russian is made for the first time. It became possible thanks to the efforts of A.T.Fomenko, who already after the development of the basics of New Chronology, by chance learned, that Isaac Newton also spent much time studying the issues of chronology and even wrote a huge book on this topic under a free-tongued name «IMPROVED chronology of the ancient kingdoms». It was an unexpected opening. Even N.A.Morozov, who studied the issues of chronology for a long time and had a wide access to the libraries and archives, didn't learn about existence of a book of Newton on chronology. But it was not easy to get the book itself and to read its content. Only due to considerable efforts of �. �. Fomenko in some time it was found, that several years ago a reprint re-edition of the first English edition of the book of Newton, issued in London in 1728 after the death of the author, was issued in the USA with a limited circulation. Reprint was bought by. �. Fomenko — and it was in time. A second attempt to get several more copies, initiated soon by A. V. Nerlinskiy, finished with fail. To surprise of �. �. Fomenko and �. V. Nerlinskiy a reprint was removed from sale not only in the USA, but even from book catalogues. Like it never existed. Even Americans, who helped �. �. Fomenko to buy the book, were surprised.
So, this edition is actually the only one available now edition of the work of Newton not only in Russian, but also IN ENGLISH. The book of Newton is nearly not accessible both in the USA and in England, at the motherland of the author. We hope that this edition will change unnatural circumstances, created probably by «offended by Newton» historians.
Although the text of Newton is partly rather difficult for perception, especially for a person with only humanitarian education, it is worth to note, that translation is done on a very high level from the point of exclusion of logical errors. Nevertheless a reader has a possibility to compare any parts of translation with the original text, which is given in the present edition together with the translation.
When translating proper nouns and geographical names into Russian the following rules were use. The names were translated maximally close to the writing, used by the author. Exception was made for Biblical names and names of famous antique authors (such as Heroodotus, Thucydides etc.), which were translated according to common rules: Biblical names- according to synodic translation of the Bible, names of the ancient authors — as they are written on the cover pages of Russian translations of their works. But even in these cases, if a translation of one or another name was considerably different from its English writing by Newton, then this English name was put in brackets after the translated name.
As I know, translators tried to translate the book of Newton as close to the initial text as possible. Even the language, with which Newton writes about history and chronology — clear and accurately, — could become an example for several historians. It is worth saying that the translators successfully did this not easy task. Thanks to their efforts — and of course thanks to the publishing house «RIMIS», without which this translation would not have been done, — a Russian reader finally can read an undeservedly forgotten work of the great English scientist. And in a PRECISE translation.
G. V. Nosovskiy
Moscow, January 2007